Vitamin D deficiency in 2010

Health benefits of vitamin D and sunlight: a D-bate

Vitamin D deficiency increases the risk of autoimmune, cardiovascular and infectious diseases, type 2 diabetes mellitus, as well as the risk of falls and fractures. Several prospective, randomized, controlled trials published in 2010 highlight the importance of improving vitamin D status in children and adults to reduce the risk of upper respiratory tract infections and cardiovascular disease, amongst other disorders.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.

Figure 1: The major causes of vitamin D deficiency and potential health consequences.


  1. 1

    Holick, M. F. Vitamin D deficiency. N. Eng. J. Med. 357, 266–281 (2007).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2

    Urashima, M. et al. Randomized trial of vitamin D supplementation to prevent seasonal influenza A in schoolchildren. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 91, 1255–1260 (2010).

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  3. 3

    Brehm, J. M. et al. Serum vitamin D levels and severe asthma exacerbations in the Childhood Asthma Management Program study. J. Allergy Clin. Immunol. 126, 52.E5–58.E5 (2010).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4

    Sabetta, J. R. et al. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin d and the incidence of acute viral respiratory tract infections in healthy adults. PLoS ONE 14, E11088 (2010).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5

    Reis, J. P., von Mühlen, D., Miller, E. R. 3rd, Michos, E. D. & Appel, L. J. Vitamin D status and cardiometabolic risk factors in the United States adolescent population. Pediatrics 124, E371–E379 (2009).

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  6. 6

    Dong, Y. et al. A 16-week randomized clinical trial of 2000 international units daily vitamin D3 supplementation in black youth: 25-hydroxyvitamin D, adiposity, and arterial stiffness. J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab. 95, 4584–4591 (2010).

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  7. 7

    Oh, J. et al. 1,25(OH)2 vitamin d inhibits foam cell formation and suppresses macrophage cholesterol uptake in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Circulation 120, 687–698 (2009).

    CAS  Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  8. 8

    Lindqvist, P. G., Olsson, H. & Landin-Olsson, M. Are active sun exposure habits related to lowering risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus in women, a prospective cohort study? Diabetes Res. Clin. Pract. 90, 109–114 (2010).

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  9. 9

    Pittas, A. G., Lau, J., Hu, F. B. & Dawson-Hughes, B. The role of vitamin D and calcium in type 2 diabetes. A systematic review and meta-analysis. J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab. 92, 2017–2029 (2007).

    CAS  Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  10. 10

    Ross, A. C., Taylor, C. L., Yaktine, A. L. & Del Valle, H. B. (Eds) Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium and Vitamin D. (The National Academies Press, Washington DC, 2011).

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information



Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The author declares no competing financial interests.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Holick, M. Health benefits of vitamin D and sunlight: a D-bate. Nat Rev Endocrinol 7, 73–75 (2011).

Download citation

Further reading


Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter for a daily update on COVID-19 science.
Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing